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Not Your Mother’s Baby Names

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There’s an entire generation of new baby names that are moving rapidly up the popularity list and that distinguish themselves by being recently minted–and by the fact that grandparents do a double take the first time they hear them. For even if they existed as surnames or place names or occupations, they’ve rarely been used before as first names.  Many of these new baby names are morphed versions of names that were used in another form earlier, while others have been spun from thin air.

Some are clearly celebrity-sourced—as when Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale gave their son a name inspired by their own personal associations with the island of Jamaica—and it wasn’t long before the name Kingston jumped onto the list.  Similarly, the singular name Miley has spread like wildfire with the fame of its onetime exclusive bearer.

Putting aside the legion of offshoots and variations—in rhyming and spelling—of  names related to Riley, Ryan, Bailey, Aiden, Tyler and Tyson, which already seem so 20th century– we’ve come up with a list of some of the most prominent nouveau names.  Although a precise demarcation can’t be drawn, and some of them were coming onto the radar in the 90s, these are the new baby names that definitely have a 21st century feel.

Girls (mostly)

ADDISON
AINSLEY
ARIA
ASHBY
AUDRINA
CADENCE
CALI
ELLE
HADLEY
HARLOW
HAVEN
KHLOE
LUNA
MARLEY
MILEY
MYA
PAISLEY
REESE
RHIANNA and RIHANNA
SAGE
SIENNA
SKYLA
TAYLA
TEAGAN
ZOEY

Some other girls’ names that haven’t made it onto the list yet, but are very much headed that way :

ASHBY
AVALON
JUNO
ESMÉ
SCOUT
TALLULAH
VITA

Boys (mostly)

ACE
ATTICUS
AXEL
BECKETT
CAMDEN
CANNON
CASE
CASH
CHACE
COHEN
DASHIELL
DAX
DEACON
FISHER
JAGGER
JAX
JETT
KIAN and KYAN
KINGSTON
KYLAN
LENNON
MADDOX
MAVERICK
MAXIMUS
NASH
ORION
PAX
RIVER
ROMEO
RYDER
RYKER
STONE
TREVON
TRACE
TURNER
ZANDER and XANDER

Some other boys’ name candidates for the list:

BODHI
EVERLY
FLINT
JETSON
PAX
ROCKET
STEEL
WILDER

Either

AVERY
BLAZE
EASTON
EMERSON
EMERY
HARLEY
HARPER
HAYDEN (newer for girls)
JOURNEY
JUSTICE
KAI
PAYTON/PEYTON
ROWAN
SAGE
SAWYER
SHILOH
SKYLAR
TAJ
TRACE
ZION

And some other unisex names in the air:

AUDEN
BRIGHTON
CHARLESTON
DREAM
INDIGO
REEVE
ROMY
STORY
TRUE
WEST

What do you consider the quintessential 21st century name?

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